Jesus of Nazareth: The Classic Film by Franco Zeffirelli that Transformed Robert Powell’s Life
Every Easter, viewers all over the world tune in to watch Franco Zeffirelli’s Jesus of Nazareth, which first aired in 1977 and has become a classic. The film portrays the life of Jesus, from his birth, his passion and his death until his resurrection. This production stars Robert Powell as the son of God, but few know the details behind Powell’s role in the filming, which almost cost him his life.
Powell initially auditioned for the role of Judas, but Zeffirelli was not convinced. Ultimately, Powell impressed the director with his “powerful eyes” and was cast as the lead. After securing the role, Powell underwent a transformation to prepare for the part. Powell’s eyes, which many viewers remember as crystal blue, were actually green. However, Zeffirelli used lighting tricks to make his eyes appear a different color and forbade blinking during most scenes.
During the filming of the crucifixion scene, Powell’s life was in danger when the four-meter high wooden cross he was attached to was cut loose. Luckily, a cameraman saved the day by catching the cross before it fell on him.
However, Powell’s challenges did not end there. To maintain his role, he was required to marry his partner Barbara Lord, with whom he had two children. Powell’s portrayal of Jesus left an indelible impression on audiences worldwide, and Powell’s face became an icon adorning homes, churches, and prayer centers in thousands of Catholic places.
In conclusion, Jesus of Nazareth is a timeless classic that will continue to captivate audiences for decades to come. Robert Powell’s portrayal of Jesus was instrumental in bringing the messiah’s character to life for millions of people. Through this film, Powell cemented his place in film history and made his role immortal.